PREP FOOTBALL: Dragons done in by Goodhue, 30-21, in Class A
MARSHALL -- Ross Schrimpf and Jared Dicke spearheaded a hard-nosed rushing attack Friday night, helping guide the Goodhue Wildcats to a huge second-half performance and a well-earned 30-21 victory over the Adrian Dragons in the quarterfinals of t...
MARSHALL -- Ross Schrimpf and Jared Dicke spearheaded a hard-nosed rushing attack Friday night, helping guide the Goodhue Wildcats to a huge second-half performance and a well-earned 30-21 victory over the Adrian Dragons in the quarterfinals of the Class A state football tournament at Southwest Minnesota State University's Mattke Field.
Goodhue, champion of Section 1, improves to 9-3 and advances to play Barnesville in the semifinals next Friday (10:15 a.m.) at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Adrian, champion of Section 3, ends its season with a record of 9-3.
"We had a very good season and had been playing our best football leading up to this game," Adrian head coach Randy Strand said after the game. "We were in position to win the game a couple of different times, but we just didn't make enough plays to get the job done.
"We did not play as well as we would have liked, but you have to give some credit to Goodhue, as well."
Adrian scored the only two touchdowns of the first half and led 14-3 at halftime. The Dragons later scored early in the fourth quarter to regain a 21-17 lead.
Goodhue, though, outplayed Adrian throughout the entire second half. The Wildcats scored 27 second-half points (four touchdowns, two in each of the third and fourth quarters) behind improved offensive-line play, some key adjustments in the running game and a few timely connections through the air.
"We talked at halftime about how uncharacteristic we played during the first half," Goodhue head coach Clair Austin said. "We wanted to come out and play 24 minutes of our best football in the second half, and that's exactly what we did. Our coaching staff did a great job of coming up with some adjustments, and our kids responded in a very big way."
While Goodhue dominated the second half behind the one-two rushing punch of Schrimpf and Dicke, Adrian controlled most of the action in the first half.
The Wildcats, though, got on the board first on their initial possession of the game. After a seven-play, 29-yard drive stalled at Adrian's 17-yard line, Schrimpf booted a 34-yard field goal to put Goodhue up 3-0 with 7:59 on the first-quarter clock.
Adrian, which was forced to punt after just three plays on the game's opening series, countered with a nine-play, 80-yard scoring march to take the lead. An 18-yard completion from Tyler Hornstein to Andrew Lonneman helped get the Dragons moving early in the drive.
A five-yard reception by Kyle Kilgore, an eight-yard run by Brock Bullerman and a seven-yard burst by Justin Wolf were among the other key plays that eventually led to a 37-yard touchdown pass from Hornstein to Mitchell Sieve.
Hornstein rolled to his left and fired a strike to Sieve, who streaked down the sideline untouched into the end zone. Goodhue blocked Hornstein's PAT kick, as Adrian had a 6-3 lead at the five-minute mark.
Goodhue started with solid field position for the second straight time on the ensuing possession, and the Wildcats again drove inside Adrian's 20-yard line. But the Dragons came up with a stop on fourth-and-inches at the 16-yard line, taking over on downs.
Adrian was unable to move the ball before punting, but Dru Strand came up with a sliding interception to get the ball right back into the hands of the Dragons' offense.
Starting at their own 48-yard line, the Dragons went to their bread-and-butter. Bullerman snapped off a 30-yard run on the first play of the series, while five more running plays followed.
Wolf and Bullerman took turns carrying the ball in that sequence. Wolf ended up capping the six-play possession with a two-yard touchdown plunge up the middle to increase Adrian's lead to 12-3.
The Dragons then executed a nifty play for the two-point conversion, as Hornstein -- lined up to kick the PAT -- took a direct snap and rolled to his right. With nearly the entire Goodhue defense on that side of the field, Hornstein turned and made an accurate pass to Bullerman wide open on the left side for a well-designed play that put Adrian up 14-3 with 9:22 remaining in the second quarter.
Adrian applied some pressure and was able to disrupt Goodhue's offense in the closing minutes of the first half. The Dragons also threatened to add to their lead on two separate occasions, but had to settle for a 14-3 halftime advantage.
Goodhue started the second half with the ball and assembled an eight-play, 77-yard scoring drive. The two highlight plays -- which both came after several solid gains on the ground -- were a 29-yard aerial from Brandon Dowden to Ashton Erie and a 19-yard touchdown sprint by Schrimpf.
Adrian stopped the two-point conversion attempt, as the Wildcats trimmed the gap to 14-9 with 8:48 left in the third quarter.
Goodhue quickly took a 17-14 lead with another scoring drive a few minutes later. Dicke's bruising 11-yard run started a nine-play, 76-yard march that put the Wildcats back on top.
Dicke and Schrimpf alternated solid runs before a 28-yard strike from Dowden to Taylor Benda gave Goodhue a first down at Adrian's 13-yard line. Two plays later, Schrimpf tip-toed along the left sideline on a sweep and scooted in for a 13-yard touchdown.
Dowden hooked up with Schrimpf for the two-point conversion to make it 17-14 Wildcats with 3:14 to go in the third quarter.
"We have some great leaders on our team," Austin said. "Adrian has a good team and really gave us a test, but our guys stuck together and were determined to play better in the second half."
Adrian answered with its only touchdown of the second half, driving 80 yards on 15 plays to regain the lead. Kilgore reeled in two key passes from Hornstein on the series, including a 30-yard gain, and later, a six-yard touchdown in the back left corner of the end zone on fourth-and-goal.
Hornstein tacked on the PAT, as Adrian was back in front by a 21-17 margin with 9:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Goodhue responded with another touchdown -- this one a 34-yard pass from Dowden to Benda along the right sideline. Dicke and Schrempf -- who added the PAT to make it 24-21 with 6:25 to go -- helped set that score up by combining to run the ball seven times for 34 yards.
The Wildcats got the ball right back after three Dragon plays and a punt. Dicke, who did the majority of his running inside the tackles, broke to the outside on the first play of Goodhue's follow-up series.
Dicke flashed a couple of shifty moves and jaunted down the right sideline for a 62-yard touchdown. The PAT was no good, but Goodhue led by two possessions (30-21) with 5:06 showing.
Bullerman returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards all the way to Goodhue's 31-yard line, but Erie intercepted a pass at the 12 with 4:44 to play.
The Wildcats then churned out yardage on the ground with Schrempf and Dicke, picking up a trio of first downs to run out the clock and secure a nine-point victory.
"Goodhue is similar to us, as they like to run the football," Strand said. "We didn't do what we needed to do -- to stop them in the second half, and they put together some long scoring drives. That's a pretty solid football team over there.
"I think that we have a pretty good football team, as well," summed up Strand. "It has been a lot of fun working with this team and seeing the type of success that we have enjoyed. Winning the section title and getting to play in this game are certainly among the accomplishments that we are proud of."
Adrian 6 8 0 7 -- 21
Goodhue 3 0 14 13 -- 30